Sydney Swans On Towards September

Picture: Anthony Reginato/dailytelegraph.com.au
Josh Kennedy is part of Sydney's imposing midfield. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Anthony Reginato
Last Five Matches

Round 21, 2012 – Sydney 167 d Western Bulldogs 85 at Etihad Stadium
Round 10, 2012 – Sydney 132 d Western Bulldogs 40 at SCG
Round 18, 2011 – Sydney 114 d Western Bulldogs 75 at SCG
Round 7, 2011 – Sydney 73 d Western Bulldogs 65 at Manuka Oval
Semi Final, 2010 - Western Bulldogs 77 d Sydney 72 at MCG


Form

     Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16       Rd 17       Rd 18   
Western Bulldogs    L  W  L  L  W
Sydney   W  W  W  W  W

Sydney cruised to its eighth win in nine starts last Sunday when the Swans eventually overwhelmed Richmond by 47 points at the SCG. It wasn’t that the Tigers were bad, far from it, but right now the Bloods just have weapons all over the ground, and they’re still missing three of their best 22 with Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta and Sam Reid still on the injured list.

The Western Bulldogs earnt a richly deserved win over West Coast last Sunday at Etihad Stadium. After pushing Essendon and Hawthorn the two weeks prior, the ‘Doggies finally collected the four points after knocking off the Eagles by almost four goals. It was the club’s fifth win of the year, which, considering the rebuilding phase Brendan McCartney’s team is going through, is a pretty decent effort.

The visitors will be without veteran Matthew Boyd with a calf complaint. Liam Jones is also missing due to an ankle injury.


Key Men

(Bulldogs) Tom Liberatore – The son of Footscray legend Tony Liberatore had plenty of pressure when he came to the club, but Tom Liberatore is starting to create a name for himself. Eight times this season he has racked up 28 or more disposals, and his 29-possession effort against West Coast was the third straight game he has passed that mark. What was even more impressive, though, was the fact he laid 12 tackles in a monster game in the clinches. When Matthew Boyd eventually hangs up his boots, this young man will be ready and willing to take over.

(Swans) Kieran Jack – One week Daniel Hannebery dominates; the next it’s Josh Kennedy ; then the son of a rugby league great wreaks havoc. Sydney’s midfield is star-studded, but Kieren Jack may well turn out to be the best of the lot. His stats don’t always stand out, but he is a ball-winner, his tackling and pressure are almost second-to-none, and he’s a goalkicker, as well. In other words, he’s just about the complete package, and stopping every one of the Swans’ mids is nigh-on impossible.


Prediction

Sydney hasn’t been tested much of late, but it looks to be winding up for the finals series ahead judging by the way Richmond was dismantled last weekend. The Swans suffocate teams, they have playmakers at the back, and even seldom-used Jesse White chipped in with four goals against the Tigers. Kurt Tippett continues to plug along with his three goals per game and there are a few guns still to come back. Richmond’s best players got their hands on the ball often enough, but couldn’t make much of an impression. Even at home, this is a task which is probably beyond the improving Bulldogs. Three of their wins have been at Etihad Stadium this season, but beating Brisbane, St Kilda and an injury-ravaged West Coast doesn’t really compare to taking down the premiers. Sydney by 38 points .

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